Stop subsidised schemes
There is something absolutely wrong with the inclusive growth policies and the policy makers – may be because in the long run, they are the ones who get the political dividend as well as pecuniary benefits.
I strongly feel the time has come for the government to honestly review their welfare programmes before they move ahead with their ambitious Food Security Bill.
Now that the mid-day meal massacre has immersed the country in a state of shock, let’s first take the much-touted scheme that was introduced primarily to bring students to schools.
There are innumerable reports to prove that school attendance increased and the drop-out rates reduced.
But how has the quality of education been? A colleague of mine who has been covering the scheme says that while students and their parents complain of poor quality of food, they rarely question the quality of education imparted to their wards.
Obviously, they go to schools for a meal and not for ‘shiksha’.
It is because of this reputation of government schools that people, despite their low income, now prefer the so-called montessori schools that are mushrooming in the country as they claim to be English medium.
BJP’s national president Rajnath Singh should have done a quick survey in the villages before making his anti-English statement.
Like a friend told me that his maid demanded advance to pay her son’s fee even after he told her that education was free in schools. The prompt reply was, ‘Why should I send my child to a government school, they are good for nothing.”
The government would have certainly done better by improving the infrastructure, making schools a more attractive place for the students to attend with better quality of teachers in the rural areas.
I am sure that would have worked more than the mid-day meal scheme, which nonetheless stands exposed, much to everybody’s horror. And now that the government is aiming at food security for all the poor, it’s time students go to school, not for a meal but for books.
Similarly, the time has come for conducting a physical verification of the works done under NAREGA, loan waiver schemes, subsidised health et al.
Helping the needy is certainly good work provided it really helps them in targeted areas.